Akor Agada Nathaniel is the winner of the June edition of the BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (BPPC) 2018 which was themed: ‘FIGHTING PERSONAL DEMONS’.
Akor, whose poems — ‘Solitude is a Woman’ and ‘The Good Samaritan’, were shortlisted among the top ten poems in the March and April 2018 editions respectively, won with a rhymed poem entitled ‘MAULING MY MONSTERS’.
In second place is MY ELDER BROTHER HAS LEFT THE FAMILY by Aremu Adams Adebisi, author of TRANSCENDENCE. Godwin Nket-Awaji Alpheaus’s poem ‘LABYRINTH OF THE MIND’ came third.
Akor is presently a student of Economics at Benue State University (BSU) Makurdi.
“This edition displayed an exceptional array of talents. All poems proved worthy of the stakes and called for acclaim, but the final list had to be reached….” — Brigitte Poirson
Below are the top 10 poems:
- MAULING MY MONSTERS by Akor Agada Nathaniel
- MY ELDER BROTHER HAS LEFT THE FAMILY by Aremu Adams Adebisi
- LABYRINTH OF THE MIND by Godwin Nket-Awaji Alpheaus
- BLACKBIRD by Tisereh Magaji Evelyn
- THE CONFUSED IDENTITY OF A MOSS COVERED ROCK IN A MEADOW by Chimeremeze David Okafor
- FIGHTING PERSONAL DEMONS by Ifeanyichukwu Peter Eze
- MY MUSIC MASK by Adetimilehin Inioluwa Victor
- BEYOND MY FEARS – I AM by Gomathi Mohan
- THIS PLACE I CALL HOME by Chinazom Otubelu
- DEMONS IN COLOURS by Ojo Blessing
MAULING MY MONSTERS by Akor Agada Nathaniel
The ignorance I entertained blared like a moving train
As the ghosts of gloom grew grains of guilt again
I felt the rain of pain reigning in my brain
Because I could not let go of every single drain
Trying times taught me how to be tough
But I was tired being a diamond in the rough
Rolling submissively like a bread dough on a baking trough
Enough just had to be enough
Suicide was never an option in overcoming my dark side
Instead I cross over to the other side of that divide
Where darkness could no longer hide
The sweet smile of sunshine stemming the tide
I started searching deep down for the wars I needed to win
Refusing to run away or give in
To the trick of those monsters grinning within
Playing provocative pranks pricking me like a pin
The solution to my struggles was not to shout
Mauling my monsters was the only way out
Not acting like a street tout in the middle of a bout
But knowing that when parrots pouts men should test their clout
When words wear wisdom’s wears wounds wander and get lost
Covering the claws of flaws for courage to pay the cost
I hung on even when it hurts the most
Trusting not on thrusting but on the Lord of host
MY ELDER BROTHER HAS LEFT THE FAMILY by Aremu Adams Adebisi
We all face our demons, internal or external, personal or imaginary, monsters we strive or like to tame. – Brigitte Poirson
My elder brother has left the family.
People say he has assumed a new face.
He sees the future in his own monopoly.
How do I tell him last night it rained heavily
And the building is facing a new phase?
My elder brother has left the family.
His is a dungeon from which the birds flee
And the earth shambles in a dusty footrace.
He sees the future in his own monopoly.
To him is the passion for own’s self-glory,
So needless are the efforts of kindred grace.
My elder brother has left the family,
And he is somewhere wandering helplessly
Till bonds are soaked, mocked in marketplace.
He sees the future in his own monopoly,
And for a second it burns the common glee.
This life that he lives is just so out of place.
My elder brother has left the family;
He sees the future in his own monopoly.
LABYRINTH OF THE MIND by Godwin Nket-Awaji Alpheaus
The mind is the real path,
Where we walk with our thoughts,
Wearing boots of byzantine darts;
Boots that lead us to our bliss or fate.
Other times, it becomes a shrine,
Where ancestors of dead and living thoughts dine.
And many a time, dead ones make others blind,
For the living are more hastier than the dead…
The dead ancestors linger in our insides,
Waiting for their addled aura to reek our outsides;
Aura that makes passion for existence flurried…
Oh we are graves, where defunct thoughts are buried!
The mind is a labyrinth, where emotions tread,
Treading and dreading the thorns on its edge.
Often, we find ourselves standing with one leg,
Dangling, like pendulum, on reputation’s verge.
Yesterday, men wandered in this labyrinth;
They treaded left feet on a left path, oblivious of what it meant.
Its corollary only led them to a cairn,
Where ghosts of becoming brood incessant pain.
Those cogitations become shadows of our beings;
They become path snaking into different scenes
Like sermons presaging one’s righteousness or sins;
And, like windmill, we navigate its wind.
But we can go no where without this path!
So we tread, we tread this inevitable path,
Quenching and lighting the wick in our hearts;
Seeking, finding, burying and resurrecting our wraiths!
BLACKBIRD by Tisereh Magaji Evelyn
Dart in skillful hand, I squeeze my eyes;
Precision, clenched teeth, I won’t miss.
First hurl! Horrific! Shame has no size;
All of my reputation sumed up in a diss!
The charlatan comes, seizes the dart,
Winks with new mischief, many hails;
Shamefaced, I return to the old rut,
I jolt to my feet, ah! Those old nails!
Black and blue, the walk of defeat,
I yearn for the cuddle of the mocker;
To deal with the target, I was no feat,
Another way, the way lower.
Maybe I’m all about a cosmic joke,
Destined to remain the clown in old ‘lores;
For the tale of my dream only gained poke,
Repelling the crowd like I had wild sores.
A fervent whisper springs up,
From the ruins in me I feign deafness;
It won’t relent, it pitches onto the rooftop,
I squeak in reply, but protest is baseless.
The crevices, they could shelter no longer,
I rise in my delirium, my feet hit the platform;
I secure a target, I lift up the wager,
It is done! The blackbird, utterly cribriform!
THE CONFUSED IDENTITY OF A MOSS COVERED ROCK IN A MEADOW by Chimeremeze David Okafor
The Ocean is a long unbroken line of depths
beginning with a bedrock of regrets.
Rocks detest unplanned migration;
Even worse is cleaving –
a parent rock has to die
to bring forth lonesome rock-childs.
But the water does not stop
To ask: “how are you coping?”
Instead it takes up and moves
and moves, swiftly.
A rock domiciles in a meadow.
He dons a covering of moss.
Each day he battles
with the question:
Who am I?
Because art is expression
and because you cannot express
a self you do not understand,
I went to see a therapist.
She sat, cross-legged, in a prim office
and took notes
and nodded solemnly –
these feelings are bubbles
slinking out of a very deep ocean.
FIGHTING PERSONAL DEMONS by Ifeanyichukwu Peter Eze
Life is shit
I forgive life
I forgive myself
Life is hell
hell is sizzling
our eyes lock
monster is dazed
monster is tamed
MY MUSIC MASK by Adetimilehin Inioluwa Victor
Like music to a deaf man’s ear
I was born sincerely ignorant.
Oblivious to the factual denial
That the shackles in my mind
Were not the mystic perplexities of Providence
God does make small boys mute
Against the false doctrines of fatherhood
A spice of Ahab, a sprinkle of Jezebel
The food poisoning of Josiah
But in the days of Ramadan
When I was weaned on the breasts of impunity
The meanings you had read into my heads
Was the backdoor hack that
Made it difficult to see the line between jihad and genocide
While I make heaven wait, or at least it’s colored variant
I must carry the cross of not being my father
I will not be a man whose ego is a teenage loin
That erects itself spontaneously
At the slightest provocation of touch
I will not be my own father
I will not sing my son the notes of this fatherhood
BEYOND MY FEARS – I AM by Gomathi Mohan
I live life as the day unfolds, knowing it is not a rehearsal.
I am as bold as my heart can hold beyond all appraisal,
I am as tall as I stand up to grow beyond limitation,
I am as fat as I spread my girth beyond emancipation.
I am as brave as my belief in me beyond all doubts and fears,
I am as content as my heart measures beyond pressure of peers.
I am as sportive as I pit against myself beyond all competition,
I am as workaholic as I allow myself beyond all satisfaction.
I am as fierce as the sparkle in my eyes – goes beyond piercing a soul,
I am as weak as I let myself be beyond a hurdle to my goal.
I am as cool as the airs around me beyond winter’s chill breeze,
I am as strong as my tears that roll beyond an iceberg to unfreeze.
I am as heavy as the scales weighing me, beyond all worries and thoughts,
I am as courageous as my never say die spirit, beyond battles I fought.
I have passed all tests of life on my terms to stand beyond gain,
Lessons for a lifetime learned holds my smile beyond pain.
Have learned, grown and changed over all these years,
To better my version not to seek approval or validation from my peers.
Every arc in my story in itself a trench – a discovery made in depth,
Battling demons beyond doubt until at it adept,
Drawing up a treaty as a resolution draws nearer,
After each fall rise up, now that I hold myself Dearer.
THIS PLACE I CALL HOME by Chinazom Otubelu
I pray thee, father, speak to the cursed clouds that bear thy son’s wish
For this sick dome I know as home has stung lush lungs off my fish
I try to leap into space, but strange songs sweep my eyes with sleep
And dreams drum distant dirges in shallow wells of waters deep
This place I call home puffs cigarette fumes into my broken nose
Mother! Please, plead my cause from yonder lands where thy old bones doze
I beg the lurking rains to flood the doomed deserts of my flight
But their tongues are drunk with wine and they flee like the sun at night
I look in the mirror and mute monkeys stare back at my pale face;
Can a frozen frog croak again to remain in the river’s race?
This place I call home spews dragon flames to raze the rhythm of my soul
Amid the silent thunder of faceless ghosts as hot as burning coal
How swift do I leap to reach the racing hands of the clock;
Ever in sprinting cycles, crowing like a horny cock?
Take me to the buoyant fountains of a newfound beginning,
Lest this present turns an offspring of a past lost in meaning
Let the bliss of morrow laughter warm my breath in bed,
For this place I call home is a fever in my head
My eyes are dimly shut; visions are shattered in the stormy breeze
I aim at a fleeing thief; brave bullets shiver and bleed and freeze
I am a nursing mother, whose breasts are in want of milk;
A flowing lace robe that sprouts the foreign fibres of silk
This place I call home has the yam and I the knife
Who then shall strike first; who dares to submit as wife?
Father! Pray, show me thy face, for I am trapped in my own web
This place I call home is nothing but me –
That clumsy being that breathes inside of me!
DEMONS IN COLOURS by Ojo Blessing
When they come in brown
Or earth colour,
I am reminded of how my parents
Were planted in the depth of heaps
Like tubers and never sprout.
And when they come in red,
They flow endlessly
As in bloody rivers in Benue
And gory rainfalls in Plateau.
Sometimes, they are fire burning my heart
To erase the thought of home within.
When they appear at night,
They’re black, the colour of sorrow.
Some nights, I stay awake in horror.
At dawn, I turn pale
After the scorching thoughts
Of my inexistence and how it would be,
Maybe like butchered humans
In retaliation of the missing cows
Or helpless like a driver stucked
To the steering wheel of his car
After a crash.
But when the sun brightens,
I’d meander into it and adapts her colour
Like a chameleon
Whose colours are for survival
Then blots out the demons in colours.
Akor will be awarded the N8000 cash prize. His poem, along with all the other TOP 10 finalists, will be automatically entered for the ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE (AJPP) 2018 and published in the BPPC 2018 anthology. The finalists will also each receive a certificate and a copy of the BPPC 2018 anthology, to be awarded at the Words Rhymes & Rhythm Literary Festival 2018.
The BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST, a brainchild of Words Rhymes & Rhythm (WRR), is a monthly writing contest aimed at rewarding the under-appreciated talent of young Nigerian poets. It was instituted in February 2015 in honor of Brigitte Poirson, a French poet and lecturer, editor, who has over the years worked assiduously to promote and support African poetry. Now in its third season as one of the few credible contests for poets, the BPPC has since grown to be one of country’s most popular, especially among the younger poets.
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.